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You Should Have Known Hardcover – March 18, 2014
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This excellent literary mystery by the author of 2009's Admission unfolds with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan. Therapist Grace Reinhart Sachs is about to embark on a publicity blitz to promote her buzzed-about book on why relationships fail, You Should Have Known. In the meantime, she cares for her 12-year-old son, Henry, who attends the same private school she went to as a child. Grace also treasures her loving relationship with her longtime husband Jonathan, a pediatric cancer doctor at a prestigious hospital. The novel's first third offers readers an authoritative glimpse into the busy-but-leisurely lives of private-school moms. Grace does her best to get along with the school's vapid and catty fundraising committee. She eventually learns that one of the mothers outside her social strata, Malaga Alves, was found murdered in her apartment by her young son. Grace, already tense and sad from these events, becomes more and more anxious as Jonathan, at a medical conference in the Midwest, proves unreachable over several days. The author deftly places the reader in Grace's shoes by exploring her isolation, unease, and contempt for the rumor mill. The plot borders on hyperbole when it comes to upending what we know about one character, but that doesn't take much away from this intriguing and beautiful book. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME Entertainment. (Mar. 2014)
There is an exquisite but excruciating irony in the fact that Grace’s marriage is imploding. The successful Manhattan couples therapist is just about to start the PR blitz for her first book, one that examines the tell-tale, “he’s not right for you” signs that, caught early enough, can prevent shaky relationships from becoming emotional earthquakes. Mired in the media whirlwind while working on a fundraiser for her son’s tony private school, Grace is only peripherally aware that her husband, charismatic pediatric oncologist Jonathan, is characteristically but frustratingly incommunicado. Then when one of her committee associates is found brutally murdered the same time Jonathan drops off the radar screen, Grace slowly learns that everything she thought she knew about the man she married is blatantly false. Like peeling back the layers of an onion, Korelitz’s stinging deconstruction of this marital facade simultaneously reveals the inexorable lies about Grace’s supposedly ideal mate. Sensitively delving into the intricacies of self-deception, Korelitz (The White Rose, 2005) delivers a smart and unsettling psychological drama. --Carol Haggas
Top customer reviews
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I was torn whether to give this book one or two stars, but decided on two because of the fact that it kept my interest and kept me reading throughout. So, while there were obvious plot holes and shortcomings, as noted in all of the other one and two star reviews, I gave it an extra just for the interest factor. But the fact still remains that this book fell way flat. I'd say about 50 paragraphs too many were given to Grace's constant droning about what a wonderful, caring, giving doctor her husband was. I just started glossing over those after a while, since they were so repetitive.
Also, I couldn't help but note how often Grace would scoff at how pretentious and judgmental her fellow private school parents were, but that she often conveyed the same level of snobbiness, arrogance, and judgment as they did. One instance was in how she immediately judged the quality of one detective's suit. And how obviously jealous she was of one woman's collection of Birkin bags, especially since she herself only had one - one that she'd so desperately wanted and finally received from her husband. Those are just a couple of examples. She, for the most part, was just completely unlikable to me, and I felt no compassion for her or connection to her.
This book had potential to be good, but it just wasn't. It's like it was a draft that was completed haphazardly in time to meet a deadline. I'd love to see a well-refined do-over on this one!